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The Peak (Singapore) - - Lifestyle -

IAN DE COTTA It’s a week­day in early au­tumn and the me­di­ae­val fish­ing ham­let on the south­ern shore of Monte Isola is tran­quil. Only 12.8 sq km, the is­land is the pri­mary at­trac­tion of Lake Iseo, Italy’s hid­den jewel that is 100km north-east of Mi­lan.

Most of the vil­lages in Monte Isola, which is largely a wooded moun­tain, and those around the lake, have been around since the 15th cen­tury at least. Yet, de­spite the beauty on of­fer, the pic­turesque towns largely es­cape the radar of the hordes of tourists that in­vade Italy ev­ery year.

But the charm­ing lake is not all ab­sent from the mind of the world, at least for boat afi­ciona­dos. Amid the seren­ity, a leg­end, the Riva, was born 175 years ago. It lives on to­day at the tail end of the lake at Sar­nico. The story goes that in 1842, a storm dam­aged the lo­cal fish­er­men’s boats, and their liveli­hoods along with it. The sit­u­a­tion spurred Pi­etro Riva, a young ship­builder and crafts­man who had just moved from Laglio, to re­pair most of the ves­sels.

He went on to build his own boats. Busi­ness flour­ished and in the 1950s, it reached myth­i­cal heights un­der his great­grand­son, Carlo. It was Riva’s sec­ond com­ing.

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